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Forestry Division

Waterfall in State ForestTennessee's first state forester began work Sept. 1, 1914 with a focus on wildfire control and reforestation of "waste" land. Today, the focus is still on wildfire control, but also on promoting forestland values and benefits, forest health and forest productivity.

The Division of Forestry's humble beginnings were in the statute for the State Geologic Survey to conduct "An investigation of forests, streams and water powers of the state, with special reference to their conservation and development for industrial purposes." To carry out the purposes of these two provisions, the Geological Commission established a Forestry Division on the Survey on Feb. 17, 1914.

Today, Tennessee's forests cover 14 million acres (52 percent) of the state. Our forests are prized, much due to the efforts of TDF over the past 100 years, for a great number of benefits including beauty, wildlife habitat, timber production, recreation, air and water quality, energy conservation, carbon sequestration, enhanced property values, storm water control and natural heritage. These benefits, however, face significant threats in the form of wildfire, insect and disease, lack of proper management and urban expansion. So, there is much work still to be done.

Services currently provided by TDF:
    • Forest Protection - works to reduce losses from wildfires and forest pests, and to prevent water quality degradation during forestry operations.
    • Rural and Urban Forest Resource Management – promotes and advances sustainable forest management on nonindustrial private forestlands for the multiple uses and benefits provided by forested landscapes. It also assists and encourages municipalities, counties and communities and private urban landowners to improve and maintain urban forest resources.
    • State Forest Management - provides for the multiple use management of all resources on State Forest lands such that those resources are utilized in the combination that  best meets the long-term needs of the people of Tennessee.
    • Reforestation - provides quality, affordable tree seedlings to Tennessee landowners and optimizes genetic improvements of tree seedlings to increase the productivity of the state’s forest resource.
    • Forest Businesses - provides assistance to businesses and landowners to extend forest resource utilization, facilitate the marketing of timber and wood products, and promote a healthy and viable forest for all citizens of Tennessee.

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